Tag Archives: Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet

Extraordinary gentleman of the Knight… White Rose by Floris for Sir John Gielgud The Perfumed Dandy’s Four Thespian Roses for St Valentine’s Day 

Perhaps Sir John was always more Green Carnation than White Rose.

A peculiarly British contradiction: feted peer of the realm, first among actors, arrested and prosecuted for ‘sexual offences’. Further enobled after his conviction.

His surface charm, that most say ran deep, and mellifluous tone that spoke of an equally honeyed, and giving, heart, never deserted him.


I wonder if, like his great aunt, the every bit as legendary Ellen Terry he might have been tempted by the wares of Floris of Jermyn Street.

I’m sure he knew of the Turkish baths that once stood nearby, and proved inspiration for Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet.

The Floris shop still has the same wooden counters created for the Great Exhibition in 1851, from behind which Ellen, and John and now you are served.

Perhaps he might have chosen White Rose, a quintessentially theatrical scent.

Not large or grating you understand.

But subtle and insinuating like a fine actor’s performance.

It starts as a juvenile violet, sweet, innocent, slightly confectionery. Grows into a leading lady heart, more power and depth, jasmine providing elocution and projection.

The finish is pure dressing room: fading flowers, endless powder and slap, the spice of costumes worn tens of dozens of times.

Actor and theatre, person, place, perfume all one.

Gielgud, the performer personified is one of only eleven people, five actors, to have the rare distinction of an EGOT.

This inelegant acronym signifies their capturing of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, and dominance of all performing arts.

Interestingly, Sir John received more Grammy nominations than for any of the purely acting awards… that voice…

… Wizardry!

Farewell then from the world of magic and theatre and roses.

Happy St Valentine’s Day.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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A Dozen Roses for December (or February) The Perfumed Dandy’s Twelve Days Before Christmas Part V


Surely nothing in the floral world is as luxurious as roses at the Yuletide.

Being able to defend myself against everything except decadence… I give you, dear readers, a dozen…

Knowing by Estee Lauder

Winter roses emerge as forces of will against nature.

They are determined, know their own minds and come replete with thorns.

Lauder’s animalic, oakmoss-heavy floral chypre may not seem in the least bit festive.

But get further acquainted and she has a generous heart.

The Dandy knows her of old… why not read the full review.

La Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens

Perhaps because I tried it in a Paris gripped by snow and frosts in February.

Maybe because it recalls a world of black and white movies, which is most certainly so very Christmas too.

Or simply for it hints at something darker, a casual pain that must be gone through to taste pleasure.

Who knows? But there is an element of the advent about this scent.

Acteur by Loris Azzaro

What could be more seasonal than a visit to the theatre?

If you’re British, a pantomime fits the bill perfectly in all its manifest imperfection.

Acteur is no burlesque, but has enormous personality and character, and one imagines it as the kind of man, or charismatic woman, who could carry a party.

Stella by Stella McCartney

The roses here are dried, dessicated even.

Their accord calls to mind, in a good way, floral lining paper for drawers.

The kind of hidden, or nearly never opened drawers where a careful mother might store secret presents.


Rose en Noir by Miller Harris

Darkness and light.

Spicy and slightly green, these purple flowers come swathed in dark tobacco velvet.

An illicit kiss one is convinced into after too much mulled wine.

Rose Barbare by Guerlain

Plush. Luscious. Luxurious.

A grande dame rose arriving in a cloud of aldehydes.

Up close she turns sweet and yielding, all honey and dark herbaceous.

A limousine riding movie star of a scent.

Hammam Bouquet by Penhaligons

The Dandy makes no apologies for raising a glass to cheer this antique curiosity once again.

Tinctured roses with a medicated air start slightly sour then broaden to amber and wood with a swarthy warmth that befits the perfume’s name.

Light shone through a Ottoman lantern with semi precious stones for glass.

Les Fleurs : Rose by Molinard

Tea roses and gingerbread.

A concentrated slice of Indian summer all moist lawns, late blooms and unexpected sunshine.

A wonderfully concentrated, in a jammy sense, way to recall the year just past.

Ce Soir Ou Jamais by Annick Goutal

All the best presents come beautifully wrapped.

All the best perfumes must have a name that speaks… and is there more of a sexy whisper in the olfactory word than this?

‘Tonight or Never’… the question is what will one get?

For this chameleon fragrance changes afresh each moment pear, Turkish rose, honey… a very polite Mata Hari.

Armani / Prive : Rose d’Arabie by Armani

Rose and oud go together like Christmas pud and brandy sauce.

And whilst some may become jaded over time to such classic combinations, when done well, as here, they remind one of just why the parts came together.

A Selfridge’s pudding with Fortnum’s topping this.

True Rose by Woods of Windsor

Powder and boiled sweets, scented handkerchiefs and lipstick kisses.

Yes, there is an element of a great aunt’s visit about Woods’ long-lived scent.

But what would Christmas be without such pleasant smelling guests calling by?

Or et Noir by Caron

No great aunt’s aroma this… unless you happen to have a Dowager Duchess in the family!

The great lady holds a self-possessed bouquet of three sorts of rose, geraniums and carnations bound together with a wooden band and decorated with oakmoss.

Perfume aristocracy.

Something there for everyone to give or better still receive.

Whooops, that’s not how the saying goes, is it!?!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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